If there were a classification in Piedmont similar to the one in Burgundy, the Cannubi vineyard would be considered one of the very few Grand Cru that exist in Barolo.
Furthermore, and with little debate, Cannubi would easily be among the most famous Crus in all of Italy. The vineyard itself, as a parcel of recognized land, dates back to the 1700s. Wine has been made from this soil for generations. As best known, the oldest surviving bottle in the world is preserved in Bra by the Manzone family. The bottle bears the words “Cannubi 1752”. This rare and precious heirloom establishes the reputation of Cannubi prior to the recognition of the Barolo zone. Yes, you read that correctly. Cannubi predates Barolo.
Encompassing a mere 37 acres, the vineyard is not large by any definition. This has spurred many emotional and heated debates in the Langhe as producers argue over the precise boundaries of Cannubi. Eleven families own portions of the vineyard and producers, seeking prestige and the increased revenue the name provides, wish to have the coveted word “Cannubi” on their wine labels. In 2013, this debate found it’s way to the Italian Supreme Court in Rome, where the firm Marchesi di Barolo successfully lobbied to have Cannubi’s boundaries increased; thereby enlarging the vineyard to 84 acres. Reaction was swift, argumentative and may not be finished.
The Damilano family have been making wine in Barolo since 1890 and today the estate is run by the 4th generation; a trio of grandchildren of Giacomo Damilano. The family own 2 hectares of the Cannubi vineyard, but have lease agreements granting the right to use 8 more making them one of the largest producers of wine from the vineyard.
Damilano’s vines in Cannubi date to at least 1935 and are producing rich, flavorful grapes that are highly aromatic. The subject of today’s article is reflective of the nature of the Cannubi vineyard. The 2008 Damilano Barolo Cannubi is a deep ruby color with long, streaky violet reflections that appear like a prism in the bowl.
We decanted the wine for 60 minutes before dinner, but at this young age, no sediment was observed. The aromas from the wine are epic. Crushed cherry, spiced plum and fresh brown tobacco leaf evolve into accents of fennel, roses, and violets. The delicate blue and red floral aromas seem to emerge as the wine settles in the bowl after swirling.
On the palate, the wine is ripe and full bodied and stylistically, one of the more modern interpretations of both Cannubi and Barolo. Concentrated cherry flavors dominate, but there is a noted dark chocolate and mushroom component that hints at further development as this ages. Very enjoyable now with appropriate food: think steak, osso bucco, and mushroom/truffle risotto but I really think the best days of this wine may still be 5+ years off. Delicious. 94 points, about $70. Find this wine.
This is a short holiday week here in the US, but we’ve got quite a bit planned so stay tuned!